Wednesday, 26 March 2014
The Countryside Alliance Awards (aka “Rural Oscars”) were presented to the cream of Welsh rural enterprise at The Senedd, on Tuesday 25th March, propelling the winners across four categories into the UK & Northern Ireland final. The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses.
The Welsh champions were presented with red plaques at the prestigious event, and two Rural Heroes were also honoured for their contribution to rural life in Wales. The Countryside Alliance’s Director for Wales, Rachel Evans, introduced the Awards at the reception which was kindly sponsored by Assembly Members Antoinette Sandbach, Keith Davies, Llyr Gruffydd, and William Powell. Rachel announced the winners in bronze, silver and gold positions and recipients were presented with their awards by Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner:
Local Food Category
Rachel told the audience: “The commitment to local produce, hard work and determination to succeed oozes out of this family run business. When Rachel and Mike Carnell decide to re-open her aunt’s tea rooms their first day’s takings were a mere £21 and they wondered what on earth they had committed themselves to. Now The Old Stables Tea Rooms is a jewel in the crown of Hay on Wye with a delicious home grown and home cooked menu that is savoured by the locals and thousands of tourists annually. Produce for the kitchen is either grown by family and friends or surplus harvests from customers, coupled with meat and breads produced locally within a seven mile radius. Home-made cakes, jams, chutneys and Welsh speciality dishes are at the heart of this enterprise with 99% of the menu produce in the tea rooms. Food made with passion and served with pride. With an ethos of “perfection consists of not in doing extraordinary things but in doing ordinary things extraordinary well” I am delighted to say that the winners of this category are The Old Stables Tea Rooms, Hay on Wye.”
Bronze: The Baker’s Table Cafe and Bakery, The Mill House, The Square, Talgarth, Powys, LD3 0BW 01874 711125,[email protected],www.talgarthmill.com/bakery/
Village Shop/ Post Office category
Champion: Morley House (Llangoed Post Office), 1 Menai View Terrace, Llangoed, Beaumaris, Sir Ynys Mon, LL58 8NL, 01248 490230
Rachel gave the following citation: “The winning Village Shop and Post Office has been under the same attentive ownership for fifty years. Morley House is a traditional village shop providing an over the counter service. It is incredibly well stocked for a small shop, stocking an exceptional range of goods from groceries to ironmongery and pharmaceuticals, not forgetting of course the post office counter. The shop has developed over the years, stocking more items and keeping up with trends, yet hasn’t lost the personal touch.
Gareth Wynne Pritchard plays an indispensable role in safeguarding the future of the community. He invariably goes far beyond what can reasonably be expected of any one individual to cater for the varying needs of his customers. His generosity and kindness know no bounds whatsoever. Gareth has an exceptionally endearing personality, always displaying a genuine interest in, and concern for, each and every one of his customers. Gareth has unrivalled knowledge of the area, its attractions and its inhabitants. He sources local produce whenever possible, thus supporting farmers and growers, including individuals with severe disabilities who are part of a community gardening scheme. Mae gen I pleser mawr I rhoi gwobr am y siop pentref a swyddfa post orau, I am very pleased indeed to award the best village siop and post office Award to Gareth Wynne Pritchard of Morley House Anglesey.”
Silver: Pwllglas Village Shop, Neuadd Bentref Pwllglas Village Hall, Pwllglas, Ruthin, Denbighshire, LL15 2PB, 01824 703730, www.sioppwllglas.co.uk
Bronze: Newport Post Office, Long Street, Newport, Pembrokeshire SA42 0SY, 01239 820200
Champion: Rhug Estate & Farm Shop, Rhug Estate, Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0EH, 01490 413000 www.rhug.co.uk@RhugEstate
Rachel told the reception: “The Gold Award in this category goes to a butchery that has expanded to supply not only their on-site farm shop and restaurant but also some of the best Chefs from all over the world. Adding a first class cutting plant has enabled the business to expand and to utilise the estates organic meat to its very best advantage, ensuring sustainability not just for the butchery section but for the estate as a whole, securing jobs for the locality and an outlet for the farmed stock. Rhug organic farm supplies the butchery with Aberdeen Angus Beef, Welsh Lamb, Salt Marsh Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Turkeys, Geese, Game and Bison; as well as a wide selection of innovative gourmet pies and pates. I am delighted to ask Barney to present the Gold Award to the winner of this category, Lord Newborough of Rhug Estate Corwen.”
Silver: C J Gibbons, 28 Castle Street, Hay on Wye, Powys, HR3 5DF, 01497 820636, [email protected]
Bronze: J Williams and Co Butchers, 124A Vale Street, Denbigh, Denbighshire, LL16 3BS, 01745 815406,www.jwilliamsbutchers.weebly.com
Rachel announced the winner as follows: “Here we have a business that seems to have chosen the creator, rather than the creator choosing the business. This budding and very young entrepreneur seemed destined to make chocolate. He grew up next to a Cadbury’s factory In Bournville and had his very own chocolate shop in the cupboard under the stairs. When the family moved to Wales he found himself living opposite the only chocolate farm in Britain. The chocolate seemed to be chasing him…………. The company began in a dusty old caravan at the bottom of his mum’s garden but thankfully quickly progressed to a purpose built kitchen in Llansteffan. Now, as the finishing touches are made to the new development, the business is really taking off and supplies over 75 outlets and provides work for three full time “OOMPA LOOMPAS” – his words not mine! The company ethos being flavour is king; trade honourably; a proper bar of chocolate is always wrapped in foil; Wales has flavour, remember that; and never make chocolate to bad music!! I am delighted to announce that the winner of the business start-up category is Liam Burgess of NOMNOM chocolate.”
Silver Award: The Working Pet, Cilwg, Llandyfaelog, Kidwelly, Sir Gaerfyrddin, SA17 5PY, www.theworkingpet.co.uk, Twitter: @TheWorkingPet
Bronze Award: Pentwyn Welsh Tweed, Pentwyn, Myddfai, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, SA20 0JD, 01550 720449,www.facebook.com/WelshTweed
Rachel was also delighted to honour two Rural Heroes at the reception, Kath Rhodes
I start with a lady who is passionate about Welsh Food and is has worked tirelessly to support food producers from across Wales. Her dedication, devotion and determination to the production and promotion of local Welsh foods fully deserves to be championed as it is evident from the many nominations that food producers across Wales put forward, as they want to champion her commitment and to thank Kath Rhodes for her work. No stranger to Welsh Government, Kath is continuously knocking on the doors of power here in the Bay, making sure that the voice of foodies across Wales is heard. Asking the occasional difficult question and continuously striving towards the best possible promotion for Welsh produce she is the original food hero. I am very pleased to award a special “Rural Hero Award” to Kath Rhodes of Welsh Country Magazine.
And now on to the final award for this evening. This award goes to a very special hardworking lady who has an unswerving dedication to her community and is also a past Wales winner for the best local shop and post office. We received a record number of nominations for Myra Bowen.
Year in and year out, the Dingestow post office – run so cheerfully, so well, so kindly and so efficiently – continues to meet the needs of the local community. Selling produce such as fresh vegetables, fruits, sweets, dairy produce, alcohol, cheeses, household goods – even children’s toys – whilst also selling stamps, postal services, and organising dry cleaning and shoe mending. In fact, there is nothing that you cannot get. Everything is possible. And if it isn’t in today it most surely will be by tomorrow. Now behind this very successful lady is a thoroughly supportive husband and we recognise this evening the equal commitment that Haydn Bowen makes to the shop and the community. Running a rural business can be difficult, to do so smiling continually, as Myra and Haydn do, is the miracle which makes them not just a service but the heart and soul of our community. We are delighted this evening to present Myra Bowen of Dingestow Post Office with our Rural Hero Award.